The brutal cold and below zero wind chills didn't stop the thousands who converged on downtown Chicago as the city ushered in a weekend packed of St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
Crowds headed to the Chicago Riverwalk early Saturday morning, hoping to grab the perfect viewing spot for the great tradition of the river dyeing.
"I’m so excited, being in Chicago for 30 years, and this is my first time just because my family is here, and I wanted to show Chicago," said Chicagoan Rebecca Jimenez.
Just like clockwork, the Chicago Plumbers Union poured a vegetable-based dye into the river, turning the water into a green color.
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Some spectators traveled from the suburbs and others came from out of state for the one-of-kind experience.
"It’s very cold, but I’ve seen the parade on TV, I’ve seen it in movies, so I said, 'I’m here in Chicago, I’m going to come down here and see it for myself,'" said visitor Shayla Giles."
After watching the river dyeing, many people headed over to the intersection of Columbus and Balbo where the Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade got underway. All eyes were on Columbus Drive as the many colorful floats, marching bands and bagpipers headed north to Monroe Street.
This year, the parade gave a special nod to the many essential workers who helped keep the economy float even during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With no COVID restrictions in place for the first time in two years, people say they're just happy to be out and feel a sense of normalcy again.
"My son wanted to come, so I promised I’m gonna bring him out," said spectator Ernesto Hidalgo. "It’s our first time here."